The plus of a Pitbull or two

Published 1:51 pm Monday, June 26, 2017

Prior to relocating to North Carolina, I had never spent time with dogs commonly called Pitbulls or Staffordshire Terriers. Truthfully, whether pure bred or a mixture of breeds, they are the most common dog found as strays or surrendered by owners to Foothills Humane Society. As a result of getting to know their diverse personalities I have become a full blown fan. In particular, my newest favorite is a black and white female named Harlequin, surrendered by her owner along with a male assumed to be her son or another relative in her line. They got along well but Harlequin was selective about dogs she allowed to coexist with her after Piper was adopted. Surprisingly she seemed to be the good luck charm for all she shared her run with as they were adopted quickly while she remained behind.

Thankfully there are adopters with inspirational attitudes. By that I mean they accept all challenges put forth by dogs with issues, patiently giving the dog time to trust again, caring little about medical concerns that may exist and are diligent to use caution keeping other animals at bay until the new pet settles in comfortably.

A red Pitbull named Raylene, adopted from Foothills years ago, recently passed away. Described by the Schwab family as “gentle, kind, polite and loving,” she became a dog any of us would welcome and appreciate. After committing her story to paper, beautifully describing how she enriched their lives, Liesel Schwab forwarded her words to the staff. A challenge in every definition of the word, clearly the Schwabs were tireless to see to Raylene’s every need, even soliciting additional training and advice from the shelter’s trainer, Kayla Parrish, beyond what Raylene had already received. Their diligence paid off, helping move the dog forward to become an exceptional pet.

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Although the loss of Raylene had dramatic impact of their lives, the Schwab family felt their hearts open again after meeting our Harlequin. At the touch of their hands and soft spoken words directed only at her, Harlequin made it clear she was grateful for the chance to connect with these humans. Earlier this month the Schwabs adopted Harlequin and staff is confident she is in very good hands. And perhaps, just perhaps, her story might open the hearts of those prejudiced against Pit mixes due to negative media attention or absence of interaction with the breed.

In my opinion positive stories about Pitbulls place a “plus” on the breed and quite possibly might open the minds of a few. After all, don’t they say “The cup is half full”? Well, mine is and I am thankful for it.

Sharon Rose

Columbus, N.C.